In this post I’m not directly referring to diabetes as a monster. The fear and paranoia it causes-that my friends, is the monster.
Usually I manage to keep the monster lying down in it’s dark cave, sleeping and quiet.
Every now and then though, it creeps up behind me and paralyzes me with terror.
Lately, my one year old twins have been worrying me. They seem more whiny lately. (probably due to spending too much time in the house and thus getting bored, and you know what kids are like when their bored) They also eat and drink anything I give them. They even eat their books and the furniture for goodness sakes. (Maybe they’re just open minded to all kinds of tastes and textures?) Every meal has to be ended by me because it seems that if I left it up to them they’d keep going and going and going… (although they are growing well and fast).
The point is, type 1 diabetes is never far from the front of my brain. How can it be? I can’t ignore it or else I’m in trouble right? So every now and then I look at my babies and can’t help but wonder…
I usually snap out of it and tell myself worrying does no good but, then I remember how my little sister was diagnosed type 1 diabetic at age 3…and how my dad (famous in our family for being very cautious) was the one who caught the subtle signs my sister displayed. I always think to myself, “what if he hadn’t noticed?”
Yesterday my daughter awoke with a fever yet, no other symptoms. All day I prayed for a runny nose or coughing but instead she was tired and cranky.
So that night I finally got so charged with paranoia after days of worrying and burst into tears. My husband asked what was wrong and as I explained my fears I realized I knew how to stop worrying (at least for the time being).
We crept into our children’s room and tested their blood sugar. First, we tested Henri. The meter read 116. My husband and I looked at each other in confusion. “He shouldn’t be over 100”, I said. “Are you sure? I mean he just had a bottle…” ,my husband replied. “It doesn’t matter, he shouldn’t be over 100”, I insisted.
We then tried to test our daughter but, being the light sleeper she is, woke up and looked at us as if to say, “why are you bothering me at this hour?”
So we quickly left the room.
I tested my husband who came up 91. I tested myself because I was beginning to feel low and found I was 74. I tested my husband again and it read 84. Then I tested myself yet again and I was 70. The meter seemed fine…
I got out the two control vials that come with my Accucheck Aviva meter. Both tests came out just right.
We decided the meter must be off for Henri. We hoped it was. And we still didn’t know about Aurora so we were still worried about that, too.
Then it occurred to my husband (Alex), “Hey remember we fed them apples tonight? I didn’t wash Henri’s hands, maybe he has sugar on his finger tips from the apple?”
The glimmer of hope sent energy rushing back to my body. “Maybe!”
We waited a few minutes and tested Aurora, who jolted when I pricked her finger. We managed to get enough blood and her test came out 93. “Yesss…”
Ok, now Henri’s turn again. Alex wiped his fingers with a baby wipe and let it dry. He moved Henri in such a way that his hand was sticking out of a gap in the crib railing (luckily he is a deep sleeper). Then we saw his test result: 88. “Oh thank God.”
This event reminded me of how important it is to learn to tame the fear that diabetes lashes out on us. It doesn’t help us and doesn’t get us anywhere. I was so worried I made myself sick. I felt nauseated and weak and jittery. I was caught in a downward spiral that led nowhere.
When I tested my babies all my fears returned to normal levels and the monster hid back in it’s dark place until next time. So I learned that the key to controlling fear is to act upon it. I’m worried I’ll suffer complications so I take care of myself. I used to be utterly embraced in fear and that kind of fear didn’t allow me to take care of myself. What helped in that case? Learning more about diabetes and taking steps to better diabetes management. Only then did the intense fear lift.
Basically I think we should all act upon the needs of our diabetes while focusing on hope instead of fear. Kerri at Six Until Me writes about this very poignantly. You can read it here: What is the biggest motivator?
I’ll test my children again in the future if needed. I will observe them like a hawk. And I will never stop the promotion of widespread education and awareness about diabetes because the question remains when I think of my little sister and countless others, “What if…?”